A federal investment of $150,000, made through the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor), will help Laurentian University accelerate innovation and skills development in Greater Sudbury, local MPs said on Tuesday.
Paul Lefebvre, of Sudbury, and Marc Serre, of Nickel Belt, visited Laurentian’s main campus to announce the funding, which will fund the purchase of specialized equipment for the Foundry, including 3D printers, laser cutters, virtual and augmented reality systems, and a digital media lab.
Located in the Jim Fielding Innovation and Commercialization Space, the Foundry helps students, faculty and staff advance and enhance their digital literacy and technical skills, develop new technologies and create new business startups.
“It’s an exciting time for technology and innovation in Greater Sudbury,” Lefebvre said in a release. “Today’s announcement brings cutting-edge equipment to Laurentian University to support advanced learning and skills development, while encouraging the next generation of innovators and job creators.”
The Government of Canada, through FedNor, has made investments totalling more than $11 million to Laurentian University since 2000.
“The size and scope of the Foundry will support a coordinated approach to training and development for up to 30 users annually,” Serre said. “More importantly, this strategic initiative will help fuel the local economy by helping to create five startups per year, while supporting jobs and growth in Greater Sudbury.”
Dr. Robert Hache, president and vice-chancellor of Laurentian University, welcomed the funding.
“This investment in the Jim Fielding Innovation Space enables our students to bring their ideas to life through access to new and emerging technologies,” Hache said. “The hands-on experimentation and the application of classroom concepts are essential to the student experience. We are thankful for the government’s leadership and investment in our students.”
Lefebvre and Serre made the announcement on behalf of Melanie Joly, federal minister of economic development and official languages, and the minister responsible for FedNor.
“Innovation is a key priority for our government and a pillar for the federal Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario,” Joly said in a release. “Our investment today will help bring industry and academia together to support the development and commercialization of new technologies, ideas and processes with the potential to transform the regional and national economy.”
For more information about FedNor programs and services, visit fednor.gc.ca.